Monday April 08 2024.

4 minute read

Continuity and change: navigating Wales' future under Vaughan Gething.

Mark Drakeford, the fourth First Minister of Wales, undoubtedly made his mark on Welsh politics. As Vaughan Gething takes over, what kind of government does he inherit, and what does the future look like for Cymru?

Mr Gething, who served as Drakeford’s Economy Minister, steps into the role amid ongoing challenges. Pressures on the NHS, contentious agricultural policies, and economic disparities persist, requiring strong, strategic leadership and long-term planning.

Changes to the Senedd such as expanding its membership from 60 to 96, reflect how Welsh governance is evolving. However, concerns about the accountability of this reform linger.

Like Drakeford, Gething is a member of the Senedd representing constituencies within the capital city and he also came to the fore as Health Minister during the pandemic. It is likely that Gething will continue his predecessor’s focus on social justice issues, encompassing this in all government policies.

With the cancellation of road projects such as the M4 relief road and demise of the tidal lagoon in Swansea, infrastructure delivery became a significant issue during Drakeford's leadership. Scrutiny of major projects is likely to continue for Gething’s administration.

While Wales has some devolved powers, responsibility for major infrastructure projects, particularly in energy, lies with the UK government. Proposals for the replacement nuclear power station on Anglesey remain unresolved, highlighting the blurred lines between devolved and non-devolved matters.

However, the recent Infrastructure (Wales) Bill has simplified the process for consenting to major infrastructure projects, creating a distinct Welsh procedure that underscores the government’s commitment to delivering renewable energy targets and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The First Minister’s decision to create a large portfolio for Huw Irranca Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change & Rural Affairs, reflects a commitment to climate but also the challenges of balancing rural affairs and environmental obligations.

Gething's leadership style is anticipated to differ from his predecessor's, possibly aligning more closely with UK Labour ambitions. Yet, with Labour's entrenched position in Welsh politics, it is likely to remain the only party to govern the Senedd. This stability offers an opportunity for the Welsh government to prioritize long-term projects that can benefit future generations.

Mark Drakeford's tenure will be remembered for his high-profile presence in devolved politics, leaving a lasting imprint on Welsh governance. Vaughan Gething assumes the role with a tough in-tray and will need to ensure that he makes the right decisions in an ever-changing Wales.

May 01, 2024

5 minute read

Mayoral elections: who’s who in the battles to lead our regions?

As devolution deals continue to be struck across England, mayors are becoming some of the most powerful and recognisable people in our politics.

Apr 17, 2024

3 minute read

The Greenbelt: a general election battleground

Since the Greenbelt was introduced in the 1950s to limit the sprawl of cities, it has largely been protected by policymakers. However, ahead of the upcoming general election, battle lines are being drawn between Conservatives and Labour regarding its role and purpose, amid a wider planning debate.

Written by

Natasha Kendall

Account Director

Read more about The Greenbelt: a general election battleground

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